District investment boost to entrepreneurs

The final of a Lingang Entrepreneurship contest culminated with the winners of the competition collecting their prizes at a glittering ceremony earlier this month.
Ti Gong

A visitor tries to scan a QR to buy drinks from an automatic sale machine, which is on display at the opening of the Lingang Entrepreneurship contest which attracted young entrepreneurs from home and abroad. 

The final of a Lingang Entrepreneurship contest culminated with the winners of the competition collecting their prizes at a glittering ceremony held at Chexiang Building, at 1520 Huashan Road, earlier this month.

The triumphant victors from the Internet and next generation information technology session had to go through several rounds of speeches and project pitching before the five winners were presented with their awards.

The selection is an entrepreneurship service program that combines competition with industry incubation.

This year’s selection covered a wide range of industries, including intelligent manufacturing, biomedicine and health, energy saving and environmental protection, consumption upgrade and cultural innovation, Internet and next generation information technology.

Changning hosted the session of Internet and next generation information technology. Startup projects entering into the rivalry involved cloud computing, big data, software development and network security.

The finalists delivered speeches at the scene to clearly demonstrate the technology and business model of their projects.


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Entrepreneurs share ideas during the competition.

One of the projects named Spiritual Wealth Club, a book reading club established by a local Internet company, has gathered over 2.2 million users and more than 200 bookstores nationwide. Hence this year’s viewers’ choice award went to the club.

Apart from the club, a job-hunting site received the best performer award while a team that developed a touch screen on smart cars won the first prize.

Another contest, named after telecommunications giant China Unicom, was launched in Changning District late last month.

A total of 221 entrepreneurs from China, France, the United States and Spain, among others, showcased their startup projects to the public in the month-long contest.

Changning has become a major hub in downtown Shanghai for entrepreneurs to develop startup projects, especially on the Internet-plus and fashion industries.

At present, there are over 3,600 Internet and life services startups based in Changning.

Changning has its own advantages in the application of Internet technology. Amid the construction of “Digital Changning and Intelligent Highland,” information technologies, including Internet plus, have been widely applied in the clothing, food, housing and transport market, forming a well-developed industry environment.

The district government has selected 100 companies that are operating successfully, like the book club, as models for other entrepreneurs to follow. They include 59 Internet companies and 23 businesses on fashion and cultures.


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A woman tries a hand on a virtual reality device developed by a startup company.

Though most of the entrepreneurs are enthusiastic, they also faced challenges such as high rentals in the downtown areas and a lack of guidance.

To help them overcome those problems, the district government published a handbook to incorporate contacts of the 23 incubators, 13 public entrepreneurship service centers and 28 camps providing professional skills training in the district.

By scanning the QR code of each center, entrepreneurs can find out its address, contact information and the services it offers.

Entrepreneurs can also refer to a hand-drawn map in the leaflet which shows the location of various incubators, entrepreneurship service centers and training camps in Changning.

At the end of the handbook is an introduction to the district’s supportive policies regarding funding, housing subsidies, entrepreneurship subsidies and training subsidies. The handbook also contains a few blank pages for readers to take notes.

The first 1,000 books have been issued to local entrepreneurs. The district will establish the first entrepreneurship association to gather the resources and offer guidance to startup companies.


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A map showing the locations of entrepreneurs service centers in Changning.

Meanwhile, Changning government has issued a new round of startup grants to encourage new businesses and promote employment.

College graduates or students, who are younger than 35 and hold a Shanghai residence permit, are eligible for a startup loan of up to 500,000 yuan (US$76,500) for no longer than 12 months if they launch their business in Changning.

They are also eligible for a startup grant of 15,000 yuan and up to 30,000 yuan of support for employees they hire.

Micro and small enterprises registered in Changning are eligible for up to 2 million yuan of loans in 12 months if they hire unemployed people.

Young entrepreneurs, who are senior college students or with higher education, and within five years of graduation, may acquire as much as 500,000 yuan of investment in three years.

The investor will quit with the same amount paid when the term is expired.

Furthermore, Changning-based incubators offer up to 12 months of free services to start-up programs. Changning authorities provide rental subsidies for new businesses, help pay their employees’ social insurance and sponsor their internship programs.

Community, campus and industrial parks have become three pillars of innovation and entrepreneurship in Changning, particularly as the district plans to create its own entrepreneurial ecosystem through joint development and communication.

Changning supports innovation and entrepreneurship with preferential policies, education and an atmosphere aimed at putting entrepreneurs on the right track.

The district has invested billions of yuan to support entrepreneurship since 2012 and rolled out a series of preferential policies.

It also opened venture parks and business incubators, as well as entrepreneurship training bases, and helped thousands of young entrepreneurs start their own businesses.


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